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Disgraced former Spanish football chief 'forcefully kissed' England star

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Disgraced former Spanish football chief 'forcefully kissed' England star
Luis Rubiales leaves the Audiencia Nacional court in September. Photo: Thomas COEX/AFP.

Disgraced former Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales behaved inappropriately towards England players after the Women's World Cup final, according to Football Association chairwoman Debbie Hewitt.

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World governing body FIFA in October imposed a three-year ban from all football activities on Rubiales over his conduct at the match, which included kissing Spanish player Jenni Hermoso without her consent.

European champions England lost the final in Sydney 1-0.

FIFA has now published its findings into the case, saying it had been tempted to impose a more severe sanction. The FIFA disciplinary committee said Rubiales had acted with "a sense of complete impunity" at the game on August 20.

"The committee could not stress enough that -- regardless of the emotional state he was in during and after the match -- (Rubiales') behaviour was inexcusable and unacceptable, especially considering his high rank within the football ecosystem at the time," it said.

Hewitt was asked to give evidence and the report includes a summary of her submission.

READ ALSO: Death of the Iberian macho: What the Rubiales kiss uproar says about Spain

According to the report, Hewitt said Rubiales "cupped and stroked" the face of England's Laura Coombs and "seemingly forcefully kissed Lucy Bronze on her face" at the presentation ceremony.

Hewitt added she "felt deeply uncomfortable and embarrassed" at the way Rubiales greeted the Spanish players, which included tapping one on the bottom. According to the report, she also noted Rubiales kissing Hermoso "fully and forcibly on the mouth".

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In his response, Rubiales accused Hewitt of "blatantly" lying or "speaking from ignorance" in relation to the kiss. Rubiales, who resigned from his position in September after initially vowing not to stand down, indicated his intention to appeal against the ban on the day it was issued.

Five days after resigning as Spain's football chief, Rubiales appeared before a judge investigating a complaint of sexual assault over the Hermoso incident.

Rubiales has repeatedly insisted the kiss was consensual.

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